Having a strong sense of meaning and purpose in life has been found to result in benefits for our health! It can reduce body inflammation and heart disease, make people eat better and exercise more, slow cognitive decline, and has even been linked to living longer. What gives our life meaning is usually made up of several components. You may have a big overarching source of meaning: perhaps a spiritual or religious belief, or a core idea about humanity and the role you play. Secondly, we have a few big concepts that give us purpose: a fulfilling career, a romantic partner, children, a passion for the environment, or social justice. Thirdly, we have many smaller goals, values, and actions that are short-lived or change over time. Although this last category is made up of smaller items, they are important in adding to our motivation to live life, and the sense of satisfaction we gain from it.

Today’s exercises will encourage you to think about your current feelings of meaning, as well as ways in which you might explore these concepts further and strengthen or develop your sense of purpose. It is absolutely fine if you have no clue whatsoever what the meaning of your life is! Simply be open to the idea of examining your life and thoughts, and learning from the process.

Flourish Challenge: Meaning and Purpose

  • Do you have a big overarching purpose of meaning to your life? If you don't feel comfortable disclosing this, feel free to just write "yes" or "no".
  • What are the other big things in your life that give you purpose?
  • What are the smaller things that give your life meaning at the moment?
  • Below are a list of things that can help in finding a sense of purpose. Select just one of them that you can commit to doing to help clarify your sense of meaning and purpose in life. Get your journal out (or just a piece of paper), and jot down thoughts and ideas as you go through the list.
  • Jot down three things that you are grateful for today. They can be big or small, profound or mundane.